Reflection Masthead
Issue 122 - The Saint John's Bible - February 2015

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Please enjoy videos of this remarkable project: the making of The Saint John's Bible.
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The Saint John's Bible - Gospel and Acts
The Saint John's Bible - Gospel and Acts
The Saint John's Bible - Heritage Edition
The Saint John's Bible - Heritage Edition
"Donald Jackson: The Calligrapher"
The Saint John's Bible on NBC Today Show
The Saint John's Bible on NBC Today Show

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

104-Into Self Into God

107-First Home

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


114-Simple Acts 

116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement  

Link to all past issues    


The Joy of the Gospel

       "The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew." Thus begins a recent document, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel") by Pope Frances, a man who reflects immense joy by his very presence.

       For those of faith, the words of sacred writings bring joy and also consolation, hope,;and sometimes challenge and doubt. On a recent Sunday, however, the words brought pure awe. The hand-written Book of Genesis and the Gospel of John were on display at our meeting of the Benedictine Oblates; hand-written in ornate calligraphy, exquisitely illustrated, and called, "One of the extraordinary undertakings of our time."

       It was an indescribable feeling just to gaze at the beauty of the scripture and illustration on the vellum pages. Imagine a life work of hand-writing a complete bible in calligraphy and richly illustrated! Awe-struck and overwhelmed with joy, I couldn't help but feel a renewed passionate love for the Word of God and the beauty of our holy scripture itself. For those of us who rely solely upon the Word as a guide for life, the gift is pure joy, far beyond what the world calls "happiness".

       "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).

                                                      --by Jan 


With the Ears of the Heart

The artwork in the Saint John's Bible is breathtaking, the craftsmanship stunning (as the videos to the left demonstrate). Contemplating the artwork, you sense great spiritual insight. If you ever have an opportunity to see the Saint John's Bible - take it!

The good news, especially for our local readers in the San Antonio area, is that you do have the opportunity. In addition to the hand-written original pages of the Saint John's Bible, kept at Saint John's University in Minnesota, there are a limited number of high-quality, full-size, prints, bound in seven volumes - the Heritage Edition.  St. Mary's University of San Antonio has the only complete copy of the Heritage Edition in Texas. (For information on other locations around the U.S. and the world, click here.)

Dr. Bob O'Connor of Saint Mary's is available to bring volumes of the Heritage Edition and make a presentation to church groups and civic organizations in the San Antonio area (info). He is an engaging speaker, more than willing to share his enthusiasm for - and great knowledge of - the Saint John's Bible. As he showed us the Bible earlier this month, I saw wonderful details I never would have noticed without his guidance.

It is not surprising that the Saint John's Bible was produced by a Benedictine institution.  The reading of scripture, lectio divina, has a central role in Benedictine practice. In fact, the Rule of Benedict encourages readers "to listen with the ears of your heart." It is apparent that those who have crafted the Saint John's Bible have done so. Reading this Bible, and contemplating the artwork, can help us all to listen with the ears of our hearts, to see with the eyes of our soul.

- Bill

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Copyright (c) 2014 Soul Windows Ministries

Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries